2022 VITA Tax Stats: $2.65 Million in Local Refunds!

VITA Tax Program Helps Lowcountry Residents Receive More Than $2.65 Million in Refunds,
Empowering Them on Path to Self-Sufficiency

For thousands of households in the Lowcountry, accessing the right resources during tax season is critical to receiving a full tax refund. The simple truth is that when taxes are done right, the result could mean valuable tax credits and refunds that go a long way in a family’s annual budget.

Thanks to the efforts of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), 1,873 Lowcountry residents achieved more than $2.65 million in refunds this year, empowering them on the path to self-sufficiency.

The VITA Program is an impactful collaboration between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Beaufort County Human Services Alliance, and United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC), serving as a vital support system for individuals and families facing financial constraints, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speakers. By providing free assistance to accurately complete tax returns, VITA makes sure that those in need receive their full refunds.

From February through April, a passionate team of 64 volunteers invested more than 4,700 hours, resulting in eligible tax filers saving almost $468,000 in tax preparation fees. These savings have a direct impact on the financial well-being of the families served.

“When you’re walking a financial tightrope, getting a few hundred dollars back can make a big difference in preventing a financial crisis,” said Dale Douthat, President and CEO of United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC). “We’re so thankful for our VITA volunteers who give their time and talent year-after-year to help Lowcountry families move towards self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.”

Volunteers of all skill levels are invited to be part of the VITA Program, fostering an inclusive environment where their dedication and passion truly make a difference. Sherry Halphen, the UWLC Volunteer/VITA Program Coordinator, underlined the significance of these volunteers.

“The success of VITA relies on dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers,” Halphen emphasized. “VITA volunteers genuinely cherish the camaraderie and eagerly anticipate their return each season.”

The VITA Program offers various opportunities for both non-tax certified and tax-certified volunteers. Non-tax certified volunteers can serve as greeters and screeners, interpreters, and computer specialists/troubleshooters. Tax-certified volunteers are needed as site coordinators, tax preparers, and quality reviewers. Free IRS tax law training and testing is available to ensure volunteers are equipped with the necessary skills. Bilingual Spanish speakers are especially encouraged to participate in all positions.

Volunteers have the flexibility to choose the dates, times and locations that are most convenient for them. This year, VITA volunteers assisted residents at 11 locations throughout the Lowcountry, including Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties.

To learn more about how you can make a difference by volunteering for the VITA Program during the upcoming 2024 tax season, please email shalphen@uwlowcountry.org or call 843.379.3064.

About United Way of the Lowcountry
United Way of the Lowcountry is committed to empowering individuals and promoting self-sufficiency to create a brighter future for the residents of Beaufort and Jasper counties. Our mission is twofold: to secure vital services that fulfill the immediate basic needs of the most vulnerable members of our community, while also making strategic investments in education and economic mobility. By uniting diverse individuals and organizations across the Lowcountry who share a deep passion, expertise, and resources, we drive positive change together. Through our annual campaign, special events and grants, United Way raises essential funds that directly benefit our local communities. We prioritize self-sufficiency, ensuring that the support we provide is sustainable and makes a lasting impact. Discover how you can contribute and make a difference at www.uwlowcountry.org. Together, we can foster self-sufficiency, uplift lives and build a stronger Lowcountry.